With Carolina’s name littered in trade talks and rumors regarding San Jose’s Erik Karlsson, it is clear that Don Waddell and company don’t plan to sit on their hands prior to the start of training camp.
And if that wasn’t enough, defenseman Brett Pesce and forward Teuvo Teravainen have been tabbed as potential trade pieces as August approaches.
With less than $2 million in cap space, an acquisition via trade seems to be the most likely way they strengthen their roster. Even if they were to add someone impactful through free agency, it would be because they were able to free cap space in a previous trade deal.
For a team that just reached the Eastern Conference Finals and made the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, the Hurricanes don’t have a plethora of needs.
But, if it wasn’t evident in their series against the Florida Panthers, Carolina needs another goal scorer.
Yes, their style of plays lends itself to winning games without peppering the back of the net, but adding more offense is a necessity.
The Hurricanes netted 266 goals in the regular season, good for eighth in the Eastern Conference and 15th in the NHL.
Only Sebastian Aho (36), Martin Necas (28), and Andrei Svechnikov (23) finished the season with 20 goals or more. Svechnikov suffered a torn ACL in March, theoretically giving more scoring opportunities to the Carolina forwards, yet no one else stepped up to reach the threshold over the final 18 games of the regular season.
Not to be forgotten is the availability of Svechnikov. The 23-year old says he thinks he’ll be there for the season-opener on Oct. 11, but coming off of a serious injury, there is no guarantee of health, much less the same production he had before.
Toronto forward Michael Bunting signed with Carolina in free agency, bolstering their offense, but they will likely need to give up a double-digit goal scorer to find that next level forward.
With another goal scorer being the potential difference in the Stanley Cup returning to Raleigh for the first time since 2006, here are three potential, maybe even unlikely, trade targets.
Travis Konecny, Philadelphia Flyers
At 26 years old, Travis Konecny is currently sitting on a roster that is in the midst of a rebuild. Their timelines don’t appear to line up and he could prove to be the missing link for Carolina.
Konecny has spent seven seasons in the NHL, all with Philadelphia, and just recorded a career-high 31 goals in 60 games.
While he had netted just 27 combined goals in the two years prior, Konecny missed 35 games in that span. He tallied 24 goals in three straight seasons from 2017-2020 and has averaged 20.1 goals per season for his career.
With an AAV of $5.5 million for two more years, it could be a perfect marriage, as the Hurricanes look to maximize their championship window and Konecny hopes to secure a big pay day in 2025.
With two second round picks and a selection in all seven rounds in the 2024 Draft, they have some pieces to perhaps enhance Philadelphia’s rebuild.
Washington Hockey Now also tabbed Konecny as a potential fit for the Capitals, perhaps giving the Hurricanes some competition in the trade market.
Carolina may not have the trade pieces that align with the Flyers’ timeline, but if they are able to free cap space and add Konecny to their roster, it could be just what they need.
Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets
With a cap hit of over $6 million, a deal for the 30-year old is unlikely. However, Carolina is looking to win now and to get goal scoring, it isn’t going to be cheap.
Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi are the lone Hurricanes under contract through 2027 and both Seth Jarvis and Martin Necas will certainly demand a solid payday when they hit restricted free agency next offseason.
It is undeniable that they will have a great young core for years to come, but the supporting cast and pieces currently in Raleigh may be tough to top down the line.
Scheifele has recorded 20 or more goals in eight straight seasons, including a career-high 42 goals during the 2022-2023 campaign.
He has grown impatient with the Jets’ front office and with just one year left on his deal, Carolina could use his production for a season without committing to him long-term.
The Hurricanes could be set at center with Jordan Staal, Aho, Kotkaniemi, and Necas, but Scheifele could easily shift to the wing if needed.
Of course, he would easily be a top-two center for Carolina, but has more versatility than a veteran Staal and it wouldn’t make sense to move the likes of Necas or Kotkaniemi. They will be in Raleigh for the foreseeable future and Scheifele would likely be a one-year rental.
Winnipeg is looking for NHL-ready players and the Hurricanes have a handful in the likes of Teuvo Teravainen, Brett Pesce, and Brady Skjei. None of the three are under contract through next season, but if Scheifele isn’t going to re-sign with Winnipeg, their leverage is inching towards becoming nonexistent.
Jack Drury, who requested a trade prior to last season, is in need of a change in scenery, and could thrive in a larger role up north.
Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks
Similiar to Scheifele, Boeser commands a hefty AAV at $6.65 million per year, but Vancouver has been rumored to be actively shopping multiple pieces. They have an abundance of forwards and seem all but certain to be involved in a trade at some point this offseason.
Boeser is under contract through 2025, making the terms of a trade a bit more complicated, but he has the ability to find the back of the net when healthy.
While he only tallied 18 goals this past season, he has scored 20 or more goals in four of his six full seasons in the NHL.
The biggest issue with the 26-year old is the ability to stay healthy. He did see action in a career-high 74 games this season and 71 the season before, but he has averaged just south of 65 games played per season.
In total, he has missed 103 games in his career, but appears to be finding the ice more often.
Carolina has the prospects and the draft capital to strengthen a trade with almost any organization and Boeser could be a piece that finds success in a winning environment.
Vancouver has made the postseason just once in his career.
Some of, if not all three of, the aforementioned targets may be unlikely to land in Raleigh, but they would certainly solve Carolina’s issue of needing more scoring.
There also are pieces that would fit their needs that aren’t necessarily on the trade market at the moment.
Particularly with the likes of Scheifele, an addition close to the trade deadline would make sense and it may be the plan for Don Waddell and company all along for whoever they ultimately target.
The next move for the Hurricanes is unclear, but all three front offices have indicated or given reason to believe that Konecny, Scheifele, and Boeser could be involved in a trade.